Wireless Early Termination Fees: Can You Hear Me Now?

In the past few months, U.S.'s largest wireless service providers -- AT&T, Sprint Nextel, T-Mobile USA -- began prorating, or announced they would prorate their early termination fees (Verizon Wireless began offering proration in 2006). What that means is, if your contract is half-way through, you owe the carrier only a portion of the penalty someone who's just signed up will pay. In the past, all customers have had to play a flat early termination fee. Is this change resulting in more customer turnover?

In the past few months, several wireless service providers — AT&T, Sprint Nextel, T-Mobile USA — began prorating, or announced they would prorate their early termination fees (Verizon Wireless began this practice back in 2006). What that means is, if your contract is half-way through, you owe the carrier only a portion of the penalty someone who’s just signed up will pay. In the past, all customers had to play a flat early termination fee.

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